11 yr old DS still sleeping with us

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
11 yr old DS still sleeping with us
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 9:39am
Hi, our 11 year old DS wont sleep in his own bed. on the week nights we tell him its time for bed he goes to our bed and falls asleep his room is right along side of our room. He has a nice room, his own tv his playstation 2, his books etc. He loves his room but cant sleep in there. If me and my DH force him into his own bed he will cry and sing out to us and stay up all night. a few times we made him sleep in his room he kept singing out and crying for about 2 hours then when we finally fell asleep he crept over with us. We have tried letting him fall asleep on the couch and then bringing him to his own bed, but he wakes everytime and runs to our bed. We have tried locking our door on him and its like he has a panic attack outside our door. He is fine during the day plays outside with his friends, even has sleepovers at his friends house sometimes, and when he goes to his grandparents house he sleeps in a bed by himself. but when it gets dark look out he is a different boy. It seems like he is afraid of his own shadow. We have a big home and if olny me or my DH is home he will follow us around the house, He is terrified of being alone. If i go to the clothsline at 10 oclock at night he has to but on his jacket and go to even if hes just about asleep on the couch. If we go to the table to get a lunch before bedtime, he is saying " oh no , you dont need to get a lunch now " and sits at the table falling asleep until we are done. This is beginning to get very stressful. Me and my DH has no privacy and both me and my husband cant get to do things we want to do. We dont fight or argue about it because we love him and want him to feel safe but this has to stop before our relationship suffers anymore. What can i do to break this habit. We also have a 13 year old girl whom he gets along well with.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:42am
Welcome to the board! I agree that it's way past time to put an end to this. You are going to have be firm and consistent with him.

The first thing you need to do is ask him exactly what it is that he is afraid of, then work on that. Is he afraid of prowlers? Show him all the safety measures your home has. Locked windows, extra locks on the doors, alarm, etc. If necessary, put an extra lock of some sort on his bedroom window, give him a night light, etc. Maybe even use a nursery monitor in his room so that you can hear if he needs you at night. I still use one with my 7 and almost 11 year olds at times. Our bedrooms are in the basement and I use it when they go to bed and we are still on the main floor watching tv. I can hear if they are doing something they aren't supposed to be, or if they need me.

Then set up some rules. He is to sleep in his own bed, period! If he cries, let him! His crying and staying up all night is his way of playing on your emotions to get his own way. Start on a Friday night so that if he stays up fussing all night it won't matter. Make him stay in his own room all night! If you fall asleep and he crawls into your bed, send him right back to his own bed immediately! And do it every time he tries it. Just don't allow there to be any other option. If he can do it at sleepovers and at his grandparents he can certainly sleep alone at home too!

Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:46am
Hi, your ds sounds a lot like my son but we kicked him out of our bed about 4 years ago. I had to be very stern with him and tell him that he is to sleep in his own room from now on. It was tough but we kept at it. He'd fight us all the way and he could cry for hours too. I think it is a little of our doing. Even now if I give in and allow him to sleep with one of his brothers in their room, he will want to do it all the time. Or if I think to lay with him til he falls asleep, he expects me to lay with him every night. So I have found that I cannot lay with him at night. It's sad but he's his own worse enemy. You know?

I have tried many ways to try to get him to find ways to not be afraid in bed at night. I let him have the light on, he is allowed to have the radio on and it's on all night. And every night he goes to bed, he gets out of bed at least 3 times before he actually stays in bed. It's getting pretty annoying really. He can find any excuse, any question to ask, anything just so he can stay up that much longer.

I think you have to start being adament about him in his own room. Maybe let him play some music as he falls asleep. I used to let him watch a movie and fall asleep while watching it, but he started having nightmares so we stopped that. He is also afraid to be downnstairs alone, he won't go outside in the early evening alone.

One of his chores is to put the garbage out but he waits til it gets dark and he won't bring it out because he is so scared. He bribes his brothers to come out with him. I swear if he just goes out and takes it to the curb, he'd be done in no time. I've tried to tell him to do it while it's still light out but who listens to their mothers?

When my son was starting to sleep in his own bed, he would cry forever. I finally told him that if he wants to cry then the door will be closed because I didn't want to hear him. He could cry all night if he wanted, the door was just going to be closes. He hated that idea even more. So he eventually stopped the crying. It takes a few days though so I had to endure some nights of cries. I can't help him deal with his fears if I keep doing things to help him out.

But like I said, I really couldn't give him special nights, even now, otherwise he expects me to stay with him from then on. It's like i have to start over again. I won't let him in our bed anymore though. I would stay with him because I thought he needed to talk before he went to sleep. But then he would come up with anything just to keep me in the room longer. It was starting to get pathetic. I couldn't leave the room. It's too bad too because I'd like to talk before bed but he just drags it out and asks these questions that is just out of this world.

I can go in to his brother's room, kiss him goodnight, talk a bit about his day, etc., tell him 'ok, now it's time to sleep, goodnight" and leave and that's it. My 5 yo I can do the same thing. Five, ten minutes at the most and I'm out of there. Maybe read a book, whatever. With my 10 yo, could never be that way. I go in ask him about his day and talk a bit, tell him goodnight and then as I am walking out the door, he comes up with another question. I answer, say goodnight again, start to walk out. He asks me another question and it will go on and on if I don't stop it. But I feel rotten doing it but what can I do? I'd be there all night. I don't know what bothers me more, the stupid questions or the always waiting til I get to the door before he asks me again. These questions would be like "why is the sky blue?" "can i play nintendo tomorrow?" "when can I play tomorrow" "am I going to school tomorrow" and it goes on.

Right now he will sleep in one of his brothers bed or he lets his brother sleep in his bed if they want or will let him. However, we dont' allow that during the week on a school night. So it's only 2 days he's able to get out of sleeping alone. And even then, he tries to get someone to sleep over so he's got a friend in the same room.

I've thought about trying to find out why he's so afraid of going to bed at night. but then I was always laying with him or rocking him to sleep since he was a baby. I don't think I ever allowed him to cry for more than 20 minutes. Oh, I did a few times and he passed the 2 hour mark (checkin on him of course) I couldn't understand why he just didn't cry himself to sleep. I sure wanted to. It was then that I should have done the steps to get him to sleep by himself, but I couldn't stand the crying and he didn't stop at all. Like they would tell you each night the crying would get less but it never did but I didn't always give it a week. Two nights of the crying was enough for me.

I wish I could be of help. I just wanted to say, I understand what you are going through.


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 2:45pm
We're still somewhat there too. DS10.5 has always had a vivid imagination, and after 9/11, things have yet to totally calm down. He doesn't do quite what you say; I used to lay down with him in his double bed (my old one before marriage) and he'd drift off, and I'd go back to our bed. But what happens now is dh works in the basement doing his hobbies, so ds and I read together before bed in our bed, and then come about 9pm, we both drift off. When dh comes to bed, he sends ds to his bed, and all is fine. If dh decides to go to bed when we do (maybe 2x/week), ds goes to his room with no problem, but it would NOT be his preference. It's taking him a LONG time (he's an only but so am I and I never did this with my parents, but then there were no wars/conflicts/terrorism events like there have been lately at that time to get me that nervous) but he seems to really be ok with the whole thing, and is eager to stay at friends' houses with no bedtime issues. I think it's just a kid/security thing that I've let go on too long. Sigh.
Avatar for digger30
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 4:51pm
We have this to some extent with DS,11. He will try to sleep anywhere but his bed. I asked him why and he said his bed isn't comfortable, which I know isn't true. I've caught him sleeping on the floor in the dining room, his sister's room, my room, you name it. He'll be on the couch in the mornings and is great at sneaking into bed with me when DH is on nights. That one kind of scares me that someone can get into bed with me and I don't know it! I kick him out as soon as I realize it.

It sounds like your DS has some fears that need to be addressed. I'm no expert but I think you need to do some serious talking and find out why he doesn't like his bed. Maybe you've done this but there has to be a reason for his fear.

DS has a love seat size futon in his room now that he's folded out into a bed and sleeps on it instead of his bed. Fine with me, at least he's in his room. He honestly may not know why he doesn't like sleeping there but maybe you can talk and figure it out. He may just want the comfort of being with someone. DS will turn on his radio or a CD to go to sleep sometimes, I think he gets lonely. We just have one room upstairs and it's his bedroom.

Good luck to you, hopefully you can figure this out! Dawn